Sweet, golden, buttery yumminess.
I met my first coconut tart 13 years ago. I thought that I had already had a good introduction to Hong Kong cuisine but the best was yet to come that fateful day as Panda and I strolled down Electric Road during my first visit to Hong Kong.
Walking past an otherwise non remarkable bakery, I noticed a glass cabinet sitting out the front with a selection of pastries enticing passerby’s. Curiously, I glanced over at the golden goodies as I asked Panda what each item was.
More than happy to introduce me to Hong Kong styled bakery goods (and more than happy to eat them himself) Panda bought a couple of pineapple buns, egg tarts and coconut tarts.
Not to enthused with the pineapple bun (and disappointed by the fact that it actually contained no pineapple at all) and a bit overwhelmed that the egg tart really did taste like egg, I quickly moved on to the coconut tart. The rest was history as I quickly gained a new holiday addiction!
Having lived in Hong Kong for some time, I have had the priviledge of sampling quite a few. This is both a good and bad thing since the mediocre tart that started my journey now pales in comparison to the best tart I have tasted. This raised the benchmark so high that it effectively rendered all the other coconut tarts average, or at least for me.
And where did I get this glorious tart you may ask?
Maria’s Bakery on Prince Edward Road West in Mong Kok, near the busy flower market area.
Walking past one day I noticed the bustling activity inside the bakery. Usually a shop full of locals is a good sign so I obeyed my grumbly tummy and went inside.
Grabbing myself a tray and tongs, I browsed around, piling buns onto the tray like I was at a buffett.
Lucky for me one of tbe things I spotted on the way out were the coconut tarts on the front counter.
So what makes this my favourite choice of tart?
- the biscuity, buttery crust (not soggy like a puff pastry base)
- the chewy, golden brown, caramelised top.
- the moist, coconutty centre that is a thing of dreams.
So good were these tarts that Panda, a guy who doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth and can take or leave a pastry, asked me to get two for him next time. Now that’s a compliment!
Thank you coconut tarts for giving me a warm heart and belly each time we meet.